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tv   [untitled]    March 11, 2012 9:00pm-9:30pm EDT

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spanish -- from spain which is now run by franco, and made their way out to havana. and the idea is earnist since he knows these people downtown, he's going to siphon off this useful information. he is given an expense account of 500 bucks a month. doesn't sound like much now, but in those days that wasn't bad for a total amateur intel officer. the embassy calls it the crime section. that's its cover name. ernest soon renames it the crook factory. if you go looking for it in the books, you see it as the crook factory. this is kind of -- cook factory is not a really well functioning intelligence organization. as you could imagine.
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the problem is real. the idea is not terrible. but to use amateurs in this way, you really. what happens is his sources gather their information. and they have staff meetings now. since they're not your average government employee. they don't sit quietly around a conference table and wait to be called on. there's drinking, carrying on and whatnot into the early hours of the morning. ernest pulls himself together, generally types something up, takes it into the embassy. a lot of the times himself. but the quality of this stuff is all over the map. some of it is just laughable. there are a thousand german submarines coming this way. germany didn't have a thousand submarines in 1942.
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it's either laughable or not that important. who had dinner with whom last night and what they said. in the end tapers off. one is ernest's heart isn't in it. he liked the idea at first. once they got into it, he felt i wonder if there's something else i could do for the war effort. the other is that the embassy got disenchanted with the sporting and wanted something better. there is kind of a different -- that in the long run turned out to be the fbi. the irony is there was at least one german spy in havana. a guy named vance loony. he thought well i'm going to be
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a spy. i'm going to join. and they said you speak spanish, you lived in latin america. we want you to keep an eye on shipping. he does some of that, but a lot of the time he's drinking and chasing women. so he's the kind of guy you think the cook factory would uncover. but he's not uncovered by them. but alert in they are censoring mail in bermuda. so they've arraigned for the mail to funnel through bermuda. they look at it. they see anomalies in looning's letters. he writes cover letters and there's secret writings in the letters. they think that's crazy. the cover letter doesn't make sense. it's not much better than how are you i am fine. they developed secret writing and find looning is a spy. the poor young man is eventually captured and shot.
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ernest is not through with the war yet. through with the factory but he wants to continue serving his country and doing something for the war effort. and he goes to the ambassador and says look, i've done all this great stuff for you. i set up this crook factory. we did all this reporting. now i want you to support me on something else. and the ambassador heard him out and said what's that? he said i want to go look for german submarines off cuba. have we heard this before? is this part of hemingway family lore? after the war, lester is like the little brother. he's got a keep quiet. but after the war lester says
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ernest got the idea from me. we can't prove that, but there is circumstantial evidence to that effect. ernest, he's going to do his brother one better. he's going to outdo his brother by not only finding the germans, reporting their presence, doing the naval intelligence thing, but he's going to sink the pilar. and the idea is that the pilar's going to pretend to fish. that's going to be its cover. it's going to be fishing. he had another cover as well which was doing oceanographic
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work. he said we'll wait for them to come by and the crew will put grenades down and machine gun those on deck. say what you want about the office of naval intelligence, but they don't think this is a good idea. and there's a wonderful guy there that ernest knows who's just his kind of man. and his name is john tomlinson. he's a u.s. marine kernel. he's a world war i hero. he's a writer. he's written short stories and colorful memoirs. he's a sketch artist and a heavy
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drinker. and he and ernest had gotten along very well. they collaborated. tomlinson says this isn't going to work. if you try this, you're going to get yourself killed. ern zest says i don't care. i'm going to do it anyway. ernest is not a guy you said no to easily. so they gave in. the office of naval intelligence -- this a all very hush hush, very secret. ernest loves that. they office of naval intelligence sends him direction finding so he can locate german submarines. they send him someas to lob down the hatches. paying no attention to what's going on around them. they give them weapons and ammunition. and one marine nco to make it all work.
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so into the north of cuba, i'm not going to point again. take my word for it. where the lines converge, that's where -- that's the general operating area for ernest. and over much -- so the second half of 1942 and much of 1943, that's what ernest is doing. they don't see much. they see -- they probably cited one german submarine and it was going the other way. so at the end of the day, this mission is really empty handed. after the war -- one of the interesting questions i asked myself was well, what did the germans do around here? how did they refuel their submarines? did they have these or think of having these secret supply
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depots they thought of? the answer is no. outfitted as supply ships. what they would do with a deployed submarine operating in the area is arrange a rendezvous with the milk cow as they called it and be resupplied with food and ammunition and they would carry on. this wasn't the most ridiculous thing. ernest wasn't the only guy to try this. there's some literature out there about what's called high school gans navy. that's about private american sailors who volunteered and the navy accepted them to take their boats and sort of patrol various parts of the east coast looking for germans. so on this one, the score is -- yeah, good try ernest. too bad it didn't pan out for
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you. and he probably would have gotten killed if the germans had come aside for water and fish. so ernest does live to fight another day. now we're in late 1943. so the germans have sunk all that american shipping. especially in the first part of 1942 while we're getting on a war footing. we enter the war in december 1941. and we're playing catch-up ball in early 1942. but by late 1943, the focus of the war has shifted back across the atlantic. american troops have invaded north africa. the brits have pushed the germans east from egypt and the americans and the brits are talking about innovating the continent of europe. so martha is the only woman in ernest's life who really was close to a match for him.
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her writing both fiction and non-fiction stands on its own two feet. she's about ten years younger than ernest. she's going, ernest, cuba is yesterday's story. we need today's story. we need to go to europe. we need to position ourselves for the invasion, for what's going to happen out there. ernest resists. he said i've got an important mission in cuba. she goes off for awhile to europe. he stays home. he writes her. he's an amazing letter writing. one of the interesting things about working on ernest, he writes five, six, seven letters a day. these letters, they're not like tweets. he's writing, two, three, seven, eight, nine, ten pages. so there's a lot of correspondence between martha and ernest during this and they call each other names like bug
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and mooki and whatnot. so he stays in cuba, writes these sort of teenage love letters. and she's in europe doing a good job as a correspondent and getting ready for the big show. the pressure is building up on her. how am i going to get ernest here and save my marriage? she's not stupid. she still wants to save her marriage. who does she turn to to save her marriage? she goes to the oss. in her travels in europe, she happens to go to bari, italy, and encounters the oss base there and talks to bob joyce. bob joyce thought the state department was too stuffy, too conventional. i'm going to get out of here and find something exciting to do for the war.
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he joins the oss and they send him to europe. martha says to him, bob, can you help? ernest wants me to come home. at one point she says i am prepared to obey the orders of my master and commander. she usually doesn't talk like that. but, you know, it would be better if we could figure a way for oss to get him over here. bob joyce says okay. i'll do what i can. and he writes an amazing series of messages across the atlantic to oss headquarters saying -- it goes to donovan's office. this kind of personal sort of cable. goes to the assistant directors of the oss. and joyce is saying let's get ernest in the war again. if you guys get in touch with him, you arrange a meeting face to face with him, you'll see
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what he can bring to the table for oss. he's got foreign language. he's got area knowledge. he knows about special operations after all he wrote for whom the bell tolls. the hero's a special operator. and he's run this intelligence service for us in cuba. he can do great things for oss. he senses the pushback before it occurs. and he basically adds verbage to the effect of so what if he's been married three times? so what if he's to the differential to people in high places? so what if he was active on the communist supported side in the war? it doesn't work. oss gives the -- you know, they listen long enough and think about it and they circulate the paper around the oss looking for
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somebody who would be willing to take ernest on. and the decision is basically, you know, too prominent a figure. we can't have him here. they looked at the espionage side of the operations. they looked at black propaganda. they don't look at -- nobody thinks they want this 54-year-old on a battlefield doing tactical intelligence. they don't look at that. they send a cable back to joyce saying thanks for the idea, but this is a nonstarter. we're not going to sign ernest up for the oss. probably a good call. ernest had mixed feelings about the oss. he loved joyce. but he was really critical of anybody. even in the oss which was kind of the free thinkers in the
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american war effort. even in the oss there's still a lot of conventional bureaucracy and government behavior. this drives ernest crazy. he writes a letter after the war saying there were great people in oss but there were a lot of chicken dot dot dot in oss. so ernest does not have an official relationship at this point. but he does go to europe. martha finally -- their argument carries today. off they go to -- they both go off to europe. martha's been the correspondent for colliers. arranges for himself to be a colliers. and ernest gets a seat on the plane crossing the atlantic and gets in touch with martha saying you know, i asked them, but tyw.
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you can't come over on the plane. i'll meet you there. aye arranged passage for you. that was on an ammunition ship crossing the atlantic. anyway, they both make it to ma. d-day, remember, is coming up in june 1944. there ernest hangs out with a lot of journalists, soldiers, writers, socialites. meets pamela churchill who's randol randolph's wife and who runs off with avril. so he meets -- in this kind of area that's where he meets bruce who is the head of oss for europe. bruce is kind of an interesting guy. he's a virginia aristocrat.
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he has married the second or third richest woman in the united states. he is the son of an ambassador. and he's -- you know, general loves the finer things in life. and one of the things that he comes to really love is ernest. they run into each other in london. after they ran into each other, talk about fan mail. bruce goes back and writes in his diary that he had just met hemingway and remembers him as quote, patriarchal, much like god as painted by michelangelo. talk about fan mail. here's ernest as he's getting ready to go other. he's grown this beard because of irritation by the sun on the patrols on pilar.
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so ernest eventually shaves his beard and goes to europe. he is there as a war correspondent. he's driving around the battlefield looking for excitement. ernest gets a jeep from the army and gets a private. and that's the -- that sort of task force hemingway. and he's going around looking for good stories. the big story in august 1944 is going to be the liberation of paris. everybody can feel it building. nobody knows exactly how it's going to unfold or where the stepping off point is going to be for paris. ernest is -- he's doing a pretty good job as a journalist recon guy figuring that stuff out. he sort of gesdss that it's going to be over here. it's going to be in this general direction.
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west of paris. that's the target. here he is out with the map with the private red pelke who was lucky to survive the war. anyway, ernest while he's driving with red bumps into a group of french resistors who he later describes as naked to the waist, armed with -- it's summer in france. it's not unreasonable. armed with unconventional sorts. they happen to be communists. the french resistance, kind of two major flavors. the rightist flavor and the communist flavor. these guys happen to be come knew -- communists which doesn't
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bother ernest at all. they have a leader but they say whatever ernest does, that's going to be okay with us. tow task force hemingway is red pelke, ernest and these 12 guys from the french resistance. ernest more officially -- unofficially, take your pick. he comes up with u.s. uniforms and weapons and ammunition for these guys. bruce is kind of doing the same thing. getting ready for paris. he says i've got it figured out. everybody's got to come through here. why don't we go there? and bruce says oh. okay. at this point ernest is leading american intelligence operations far day or two.
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here they are. that's bruce on the left. that's the french resistance guy in the middle. and there's ernest on the right. ernest by the way is overweight at this point. he's 6', 220. extra to love. when bruce gets there and looks for ernest, ernest had set himself up in a good hotel with a good kitchen and wine cellar. this is how he describes his bedroom. ernest's bedroom was the nerve center of these operations. boys and girls reporting from as far as versailles. there in his shirt sleeves he
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gave audience to couriers. revolves of every nationality was on the bed and the basin had brandy bottles while under the bed was a cash of army rash in whiskey. can you imagine that? i've never seen it, but i'll bet it did exist. bob kappa, the famous photographer encountered the same scene and wrote in his autobiography that 13 young men from the french resistance were taken care of the charismatic american who spoke their language copying their walk and spitting short sentences. hemingway was known for short sentences. from the corners of their mouths in different languages. so this is kind of the -- this is the manning table here.
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and this group establishes an intelligence ops center in this hotel. these three in the picture, they run ops for four or five days before paris is liberated. what do they do? ernest himself goes on a few recons. where are the germans? it's recon by fire and german fire. he goes until germans shoot at him. then he says they must be over there. slightly more sophisticated ops are conventional patrolling. capturing and interrogating german prisoners. they capture more german prisoners than they can handle and don't have people to guard them. so ernest says have them take off their pants, they won't run away. and put them to work at the kitchen. so if you went to the kitchen here, there's german prisoners that don't have anything on
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below the waist and ernest has them peeling potatoes. so they also use local knowledge. they talk to people who live in the area that the troops are going to pass through on the way to paris and get information about the germans and the passability of roads and this sort of thing. it's good intel, and bruce makes sure it works its way up the chain. gets to the operators who are going to need it. it's not spectacular. it's not award winning. it's solid intelligence. ernest gets at least a b-plus for this. then the push to paris happens. it fills up with everybody. charles degaul. a large group of famous and not so famous journalists, he kind appoints himself head press man
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there. when they complain about why did he get the good rooms and the best food and wine. he kind of gives stabs. one of them is andy rooney, by the way. bunch of senior intelligence officers show up. then it's off to paris. ernest is in the van with bruce of this french armor division. of course they've got to stop for a couple of fire fights. ernest never drove through a fire fight that he didn't like. and then they get into paris and it's pandemonium. ernest's wish has sort of come true. this picture doesn't capture the chaos. as they're driving through paris bruce said later it was impossible to refuse the gifts thrust upon us. in the course of the afternoon we had beer, cider, white and red bordeaux, white and red
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cognac. i hope they were still mission capable after doing all this. on the next day, bruce and hemingway liberate the ritz hotel. they go into the bar and by this time the interradioloentourage. and brus orders up 50 martinis. bruce writes in his diary saying you know, they weren't really very good. talk about that kind of -- you know, the virginia aristocrat, only the best for him. but he's fair and he says you know, we stayed for dinner. and dinner was really good. there were about 12 people who stayed for dinner including ernest.
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they all found the menu -- somebody wrote on the menu we think we took paris. and then the 12 people at the table signed up. this is pretty much the end of the story of ernest and american intelligence in world war ii. he spends the rest of the war -- he spent a lot of time in the ritz. he goes over to the hotel nearby. and this is a fanciful portrayal of ernest at the table in the foreground. the guy with the patch is william l. shriver. the lady they're sitting with a janet flannor who wrote for "the new yorker" for many years. aside from being in paris doing the correspondent thing, he does get out to the front and spends -- he exposes himself to a considerable amount of danger as a war correspondent. the american troops are going
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towards entering germany. around this time bumby, his luck ran out in the fall of 1944. he was captured. he talks with oss about a possible mission to liberate bumby. wiser heads prevail. it was not attempted. it would have been disastrous. after the battle of the bulge, ernest goes home and resumes his life now without martha in cuba. here he is riding home on a pan am airplane. so that's not the end of the story. there's been another window open all the time. there was a reason i said this was the end of ernest's relationship with american intelligence in world war ii. he had a relationship with another intelligence organization starting in 1941 and that was the kgb.


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